LAKE CHARLES — Salmen’s Kalani Brown put together one of the most dominant performances in tournament history, scoring 30 points and pulling down 23 rebounds on Saturday night.
But rival Warren Easton High used balance to defeat two-time defending state champion Salmen 46-42 in the Class 4A title game that helped highlight the final day of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Girls Top 28 tournament.
Warren Easton (33-1) won its first state title in girls basketball. The Eagles were led by Sabrina Banks, who had 17 points. Kechell Figueroa added 13 points.
Salmen’s Brown, a Baylor signee, was selected the Most Outstanding Player in the 4A final. She made 1 of 17 shots from the floor and 4 of 5 free throws.
A two-point game with 6:23 left, Warren Easton went on an 8-0 run to grab their biggest lead of the game at 42-36 with 5:12 left on back-to-back 3-pointers by Figueroa and Banks.
Up 44-42 with 21.2 seconds left Figueroa calmly hit two free throws to give the Eagles a four-point lead.
Trailing 22-19 at the half, Salmen (27-5) went on a 7-3 run midway through the third quarter to take the lead. Warren Easton took the lead back the final minute of the third by the final five points of the quarter to lead 34-32.
Brown scored the first-half 17 points and had 13 rebounds. Kayla Sibley’s bucket with 47.4 seconds in the half was the first points for Salmen not scored by Brown.
The fourth match-up between the two teams this season, the game was also a rematch of the 2014 state championship game in which Salmen defeated the Eagles 56-48.
A signee for Baylor University, Brown led the Spartans (27-5) with a game-high 30 points and 23 rebounds. Deja Starks added six points.
NORTH CENTRAL 54, VERMILION CATHOLIC 40: A day after the death of her father, North Central High head coach Vanessa Taylor led the Hurricanes to the first championship in school history in the Class 1A game that opened Saturday’s action.
NCHS (30-3) was making its fourth straight tourney appearance. The 1A Most Outstanding Player award went to North Central’s Jazlyn Robertson, who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Robertson made the fourth-quarter layup that put the Hurricanes ahead for good. Sydney Martin scored a game-high 18 points and Quaniqua Joseph added 14 for the winners.
Vermilion Catholic (26-5), the 2013 1A champion got a combined 32 points an 27 rebounds from Ashailee Brailey and Kaylen Collins. Both players finished with 16 points, wile Collins had 15 rebounds and Brailey 12.
While North Central took control early the contest with a 19-point second quarter and led 26-22 at halftime. Vermilion Catholic came out strong to start the second half, using a 14-3 run to go up by seven points midway through the third quarter.
Both teams traded baskets in a fourth quarter that saw four tie scores before North Central’s Robertson hit a final go-ahead layup make it 52-50 with 1:16 remaining. The teams had traded baskets down the stretch until Robertson’s post-up move. Joseph then tacked on two free throws.
Vermilion Catholic didn’t score again.
The Eagles missed three shots and had a turnover in the closing seconds.
NORTH CADDO 55, PICKERING 49: North Caddo won its second straight 2A title. The Rebels (24-11) were led by Keyarrea Easter’s game-high 22 points and 7 rebounds. Jasmine Thomas added 18 points and 11 rebounds and was selected as the Most Outstanding Player for the 2A title game. Sumer Williams had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the winners.
Trailing 22-21 coming out of the halftime locker room, the story of the third quarter was Thomas. She single-handily outscored Pickering 11-0 the final 4:27 of the third quarter to give the Rebels a commanding 36-27 lead.
Pickering got as close as 46-45 with under two minutes left in the game, but could never regain the lead.
Amy McKellar paced the Devils with seven of the 12 points in the run and led Pickering with 10 first-half points.
Playing in the school’s first-ever state championship game, Pickering (26-5) was led by McKellar’s 15 points and five rebounds. Terrinisha Mosley added 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.